Alabama completed another outstanding 2014 season with 12 wins and an SEC championship. And yet, for the Alabama defense, giving up 44 points to rival Auburn and 42 in the Sugar Bowl loss against Ohio State left a lingering, sour taste.
John Zenor of the Associated Press writes the Alabama defense is working to get back to its own standard in 2015, which is nothing shy of the stingiest play in college football.
“There’s a lot of guys that feel like we want to bring ‘Bama back to where it was, ‘Bama-style defense,” linebacker Ryan Anderson said. “Everybody’s hungry.”
That pursuit starts with the linebackers. Defensive coordinator Kirby Smart is doing some tinkering, including working All-American Reggie Ragland at outside linebacker, per Ken Rogers of the Dothan Eagle.
Don’t expect the Alabama defense to deviate too much from it’s course, though. Ragland is still one of the primary players on the inside of that vaunted (if not somewhat vulnerable after the Ohio State loss) run defense.
Nick Saban said Reuben Foster, Shaun Dion Hamilton and Reggie Ragland are the three primary inside linebackers.
— Alex Scarborough (@AlexS_ESPN) August 12, 2015
Mike Griffith, MLive.com
Michigan State faces its own uncertainty within its highly regarded defense. The Spartans lost linebacker Ed Davis for the season to a knee injury, leaving them without one of their most aggressive rushers.
Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio issued the below statement:
“We’re so disappointed for Ed Davis, and his presence in the lineup will be missed. Ed is a tremendous playmaker and a solid leader. He will still have an important role on this team, and he might have the opportunity to qualify for a sixth year of eligibility.
“Our program has faced adversity before, so now it’s time to adopt the ‘next man up’ mentality. Ed’s season-ending injury provides others with an opportunity to have a positive impact on this team.”
Paul Myerberg, USA Today
UTEP’s Daniel Siller might be the most unlikely college football prospect, as he explained to USA Today:
“Most people think in Mexico we don’t play football,” Siller said. “So when I got here, people were like, ‘Hey, you played football in Mexico?’ Yeah, since I was a little kid. Where I’m from, I’m the only one, all-time, who has played Division I college football.”
Siller chased his American dream from Mexico in one of the most unique stories you’ll read this college football season.
Sights and Sounds from Around Fall Camp
This time of year may be fall camp, but don’t mistake the title for autumn weather. We’re very much in the throes of the dog days of summer, and staying cool is a must. Texas A&M defensive Myles Garrett has the right idea, even if Bear Bryant may not have approved in his Junction Boy days.
Batman costume on display today — that would be DE Myles Garrett: pic.twitter.com/Xe8JQ8EDFS
— Brent Zwerneman(@BrentZwerneman) August 12, 2015
Pac-12 Networks’ tour through the West visited Seattle and the Washington Huskies on Wednesday. Part of the experience by the Lake included a firsthand view of what standout wide receiver Jaydon Mickens sees.
— Pac-12 Networks (@Pac12Networks) August 12, 2015
Western Kentucky’s special teams made a splash nationally with this most unique long-snapping workout:
During camp we work on our craft in unique ways! pic.twitter.com/TubY96Pp7B
— WKU Specialists (@WKU_kicksquad) August 12, 2015
Speaking of unique, Tom Herman’s Houston Cougars staff has some interesting ways of rewarding players after rigorous fall camp workouts.
University of Houston Football has some weird new incentives for their players. Our PA Alex, not so sure about them. https://t.co/QSRf45HD8Q
— FOX Sports Live (@FOXSportsLive) August 12, 2015
Herman’s settling into his new role at the University of Houston nicely, but I can’t help but wonder if he wouldn’t mind having one more go at the Ohio State offense now that Braxton Miller is playing H-back.
Braxton Miller was averaging 10 yards per carry before he got knocked out. TEN.
— Lyndsay Lee (@LyndsayALee) August 12, 2015